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Note: All teams will play their normal 6 games over a 7-week period. All teams will have one BYE week through the season.
Carrie Martin Rises to Midcore Challenge
Carrie Martin and her fellow Dinks were a little concerned over their advancement from Softcore to Midcore league, but judging from their 2-1 performance vs. Sets on the Beach on Thursday at Tubman, they have nothing to worry about. Led by Carrie's outstanding play, especially the unbelievable amount of saves she made, the Dinks shook off any nerves they may have had by about 5 minutes into the first set, winning 25-18. The second set was a barnburner, with Carrie's flawless service gaining points, with some great long volleys to watch. The Dinks lost a tough one in the second, 26-24, but roared back in the third to clinch the match. Carrie's attention to every play and savvy leadership on the floor will make for some great Midcore competition this season!
Natalie Brown of Block Party is a force to be reckoned with and has loads of energy! She showed her teammates and competitors on Dinkheads that she wasn't taking any part of her game lightly. Natalie had some really great one-handed saves which seems to be her specialty. And by sliding out of bounds to save every ball she could, she was able to help her teammates pull out a game 3 25-15 win after losing the first two sets. All due to the momentum and energy Natalie brings with her to the court each week - great performance!
OK, so Chris O'Brien has been given this prestigious USL award before, but geez, this guy is so deserving of it every week that we just had to give it to him in Week 3 anyway! Not only is he completely over the top in VB skills, but he gets the energy going throughout the gym with every game. He is always there with a smile, joke or high five for his teammates on Net Ninjas, and also the first to congratulate great plays by his opponents. The Ninjas were without Scott who is recovering from a nasty virus, but showed up to coach (or lie down) on the sidelines, so the team was determined to fill in the gap. Chris's service is a thing to behold, launching bombs and aces in a continuous barrage. The competition better be prepared when he's on the offensive at net because you need to duck and cover whenever his hand comes up for a thrown down. Spiketastic gave the Ninjas a run for their money in the first set, but with Chris effectively killing at net, Ninjas were able to gut it out in the first set, 25-23 and cruised to a 25-16 win in the third. Chris's leadership, incredible skills and positive personality make for a winner and we salute you!
Jared Davis was nominated for POTW for Tubman Midcore Thursday night by his fellow teammates and yours truly, and there was absolutely no denying his presence on court. Some Spike It Hot had the match of the year vs. Net Ninjas and Jared made some radically significant contributions in the effort. Some Spike it came out on top in a close one in the first match by a score of 25-23 behind Jared's stretch of powerful service equaling many points scored. He was also effective at net with a couple killer blocks against a very aggressive Ninjas front row. This momentum was perfect for Some Spike It's energy in the third set where they traded numerous rallies with the Ninjas and Jared in the thick of things. What a standout effort by Jared and it didn't go unnoticed!
Sets on the Beach player Amanda Newton gets our POTW for Thursday Midcore at Tubman because she knows how to rock a holiday. In particular, St. Paddy's Day! While some of our Midcore players wore green in honor of the national drinking day of Ireland, Amanda took it a step further by showing up in some wild and fancy shamrock leggings, which were AWESOME. Sometimes the attire inspires, and this was certainly the case because she played an outstanding game for her squad. Amanda is always rock solid from the service line and really brought some great effort to lengthy rallies vs. Scrappy Kilmore. Her defense and setting were outstanding despite a tough match loss. No matter - she got us celebrating the green early with her enthusiasm for the game and the holiday!
With his team struggling in the first game and losing, halfway through the second game, Dylan Garza took matters into his own hands and called a timeout. With the instruction like a Marine sergeant, Dylan told his squad to "focus, focus, focus", and mapped out a plan for court positioning, defensive and offensive strategies. He emphasized the importance of constant communication and calling out assists and who's got what. The timeout seemed to do the trick and while Scrappy Kilmore dropped the final two games, they had some fantastic rallies, consistent service and were in the attack mode more than not. With Dylan's leadership, the Scrappys will prevail positively in the playoffs. Way to go Coach!
Watching Trevor Greer of the Dinkheads is like attending an instructional class on the proper way to play volleyball. Really - every move he makes is textbook performance, from his service to knowing exactly where to position himself on the court. With his team currently sitting in first place in the standings on the season, Trevor has really set the pace for the Dinkheads with consistency and the ability to make every play count. Facing a tough opponent in Net Ninjas, the Dinkheads struggled in game one, but behind Trevor's command of the assists, they rallied in the second game. Despite falling again in game three, Trevor's effort remained strong and we know we'll see that shine through in the upcoming playoffs next week!
Brodie Bricker of Some Spike It Hot must save his best play for the end of the season because he was practically flawless on Thursday at Tubman in the Midcore playoffs vs. Sets on the Beach. He is adaptive and effective at any position, but on Thursday's game, he played a terrific back row by keeping the ball in play no matter how deep back it fell. Rotate a few spots and now Brodie's up front at net where he launched an attack of kills on offense, so it appears that his defensive skills are perfectly aligned with the offense. Some Spike It Hot put the match in the win column with a 2-1 victory over Sets on the Beach and will return next week along with Brodie's energy and attention to detail on both offense and defense.
It was looking like the Net Ninjas weren't going to make it to the Midcore finals on Thursday at Tubman judging from their lackluster performance in the first set of the semifinals vs. Some Spike It Hot. In uncharacteristic fashion, communication and effort just weren't clicking for the team. That's when Captain Scott Hoback took stock of what was on the line and decided to inspire his teammates with some unbelievable athleticism. Scott spent a bulk of his time on the floor finding digs and arms stretched to crazy lengths to keep the ball in play during every volley. He made sure the team was calling out their sets and ups and made some beautiful kills at net on offense. All this added up to winning the last two sets in the semis over SSIH and entering the finals vs. Spiketastic. Scott continued the tactics that were working which resulted in a 3-0 match victory and the Midcore championship. Way to come back after your early season illness, Scott - you've rebounded in amazing fashion and that USL headband looks fabulous on you and your teammates!